Monday, 18 December 2017

57 Suspected illegal miners remanded

Fifty-seven persons of Agye Pepo, near Aboso in the Prestea Huni/Valley District and Pasay-Top, a popular mining site in the Tarkwa Nsueam Municipality, have been remanded by the Tarkwa Circuit Court for engaging in illegal mining.

The pleas of the suspects who were arrested in a separate operation conducted by the joint military and police taskforce established by government to clamp down illegal mining activities were not taken.
The Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Juliana Essel-Dadzie, told the court, presided by Mr Emmanuel Bart-Plange Brew, that they cannot take the pleas of the suspects as the police have not taken their statements.
She, therefore, asked the court to remand them so as to help the police complete the process for trial.
Lawyer Bright Baiden, council for the suspects, who was not happy with the prosecutor’s submission, told the police to attach much importance to the illegal mining issue as it’s of national importance.
The presiding judge, however, intervened and calmed both parties, and explained that the Chief Justice had selected specific courts throughout the country to deal with the illegal mining issues, and that Tarkwa Circuit Court was not one of them.
Mr Brew said since Sekondi High Court had been mandated to handle such matters, he would refer it to that court for prosecution to begin on August 14.
The judge ordered that the gold-bearing sand that was retrieved during the exercise should be sent to the Goldfields laboratory with a representative each from the Police Service, taskforce and illegal miners for the gold to be recovered.
He emphasised that all the other items should be kept by the police until the court was ready for hearing.
Information gathered by Ghana News Agency indicated that on August 4, the "Operation Vanguard" officers were on routine patrols at Agya Pepo when they chanced on 20 persons at an illegal mining site prospecting for gold.
They arrested the suspects together with three motorbikes, one Changan machine, 18 mobile phones, one 20KW electronic motor, two compressor machines, a bicycle and one sack of sand suspected to contain gold, and an amount of GH¢14,055.
On August 5, at 1630 hours, the team, which had been in Tarkwa for a while, proceeded to the Pasay-Top mining site and apprehended 37 illegal miners.
The team also impounded one Hyundai Kia truck with registration number GS 429-12, fully loaded with unspecified number of fertiliser sacks, four vehicles and one SAX compressor.


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